WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar has spent more time in the Octagon than the squared circle recently after he showed up at UFC 226 to challenge new UFC heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier to a fight in the future.
That bout can’t take place until January at the earliest because Lesnar just re-entered into the USADA drug testing pool, but his return to UFC is already having a ripple effect in WWE. The Monday after Lesnar’s UFC run-in, he was nowhere to be found on Monday Night Raw, and not only was he not on the bill but his name wasn’t even mentioned.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that was a purposeful omission that came from the mind of Vince McMahon. Per the Observer, McMahon told everyone backstage Lesnar’s name wasn’t to be mentioned to keep focus on the build to Extreme Rules and they won’t mention his name until it’s deemed to be beneficial to them. The thought, apparently, is to turn fans against Lesnar, again, by insinuating he’s turning their back on him in hopes that they can finally get people to side with Roman Reigns in their SummerSlam matchup.
This is basically a redux of their program ahead of WrestleMania, where Reigns constantly harped on Lesnar’s absentee status as a champion, but that didn’t work as hoped and ultimately Lesnar retained in brutal, bloody fashion. It’s clear there wasn’t a lesson learned from that by WWE and they’ll continue trying to go to the “loyalty” card to get fans on Roman’s side, which seems like a futile effort at this point.